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Ellen J. McKenzie is the new dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Ellen J. McKenzie is the new dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Ellen J. MacKenzie, a trauma expert and long-term faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will lead the school as its next dean this fall, university administrators announced Friday.

MacKenzie will become the school's 11th dean and the first woman to hold the position starting Oct. 1. She will succeed Michael J. Klag, dean since 2005 and the longest-serving of the university's current school leaders.

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MacKenzie will lead the school as it changes its approach to solving the world's public health problems. The school announced a $300 million initiative last year — funded by Hopkins alumnus, businessman and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg — to target such public health problems including drug addiction, obesity, gun violence, adolescent health and environmental threats.

"Being a part of a new way of thinking about public health is a huge opportunity," Mackenzie said. "And it is an opportunity to make a difference at a school and university that I truly love and want to see succeed in every possible way."

MacKenzie, 67, earned her master's degree in biostatistics from the Bloomberg School in 1975 and a doctorate in 1979. She said she hopes her work in trauma and expertise in analyzing data will help the school in its mission.

She spent her career working with hospital trauma centers looking at the short- and long-term impacts that traumatic injuries have on people's lives. Her research uncovered that outside psychosocial factors such as mental health, and whether a person has a good support system can influence a trauma victim's recovery. MacKenzie heads a national research consortium that pairs more than 50 major U.S. trauma centers with top military medical facilities that share information. The information is used to help improve treatments for veterans wounded on the battlefield as well as civilian trauma patients.

As researchers have access to more data, MacKenzie said, she hopes to help develop ways to best use that information to help improve people's health.

"The way we use data and manage enormous amounts of data to make the best use of that information is incredibly challenging," she said.

Ronald J. Daniels, president of the Johns Hopkins University, said MacKenzie's expertise and leadership make her a good fit as dean.

"I have been deeply impressed by Dr. MacKenzie's appreciation for today's global and local public health challenges, and by her visionary understanding of the Bloomberg School's role as a leader in confronting these challenges," he said in a statement. "Her renowned scholarship, proven academic leadership, and tireless commitment to the mission of Johns Hopkins make her ideally suited to serve as the next Bloomberg School dean."

Klag was not involved in the hiring of his replacement but said MacKenzie is a good choice. He described her as smart and graceful with lots of energy and passion. He said one of MacKenzie's strengths is her ability to collaborate, an important skill in a field that requires working with people across various disciplines, from community activists to engineers.

"She gets people from different perspectives, people from different backgrounds, to work together for one common good," he said.

MacKenzie was chair of the Bloomberg School's department of health policy and management from 2005 until last year when she was appointed a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor.

The Bloomberg School was founded in 1916 by Hopkins physician William H. Welch and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller. MacKenzie takes over a school with 1,400 faculty members who conduct research in more than 130 countries.

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